Barcelona forward Neymar has revealed that Lionel Messi is an even better player in person than he appears on television.
In an interview with FIFA’s official website Neymar touches on a range of subjects, including his first six months at Camp Nou, his impressions of his teammates and Brazil’s chances at this summer’s World Cup.
Neymar said that while he misses his homeland, the prestige of playing for Barca is worth a little homesickness.
“I miss my home there and always miss my family and friends. But I’m very happy to be discovering new things,” the former Santos player said.
“Right now I’m living my boyhood dream, which was to play for a European club.
“The fact that it’s a huge club like Barcelona makes it a tremendous honour. I like everything about the city: the climate, the people. It’s quite similar to Brazil, which helps a lot. There’s even a beach!”
He added that his Barca has teammates played a major role in helping him settle in his new surroundings.
“Thank God I’ve had a lot of good fortune, mainly to have found such a great group of people here, along with players who have made me very welcome.
“All of Barcelona, in fact. We’re talking about players who have won practically everything there is to win yet remain as humble as ever. That’s the main reason why everything is working out well.”
Neymar lined up for Brazil in last year’s Confederations Cup final against a Spain side containing a number of his future Barca colleagues, with his move to Camp Nou already confirmed at that stage.
The 22-year-old helped Brazil to victory but doesn’t believe La Roja will go back to Brazil seeking revenge on the hosts.
“Every team going to Brazil 2014 will be there to win, and it’s going to be a fiercely contested World Cup,” he said.
“All the teams are preparing very well, but I believe we have an excellent chance of reaching the final and becoming champions.
“That’s what we’re working towards, and all that training is aimed at realising that dream.”
Brazil could face the Argentina of Messi and Javier Mascherano and Neymar says that is something discussed between the players.
“I’ve even spoken to [Messi] about a possible final between Brazil and Argentina, obviously with Brazil winning.
“I was always a big fan of his, and am even more so now that I know him. I have the good fortune to work with him every day and I wish him well in everything.
“He’s surprised me a lot, even as a player. I never realised he was so great when I was just watching him on TV.”